Disgruntled House Members Mull Farm Bill Options

With the current farm bill expiring in eight days and with the leadership of the House of Representatives refusing to take action on agricultural legislation, some disgruntled rural lawmakers are considering their options for the next few months.

Despite the bipartisan efforts of the U.S. Senate, the farm bill appears stalled at least until after the 2012 election. This delay is largely the result of the House GOP leadership, which has refused to bring the farm bill to the floor, claiming that the bill does not have enough votes to pass.

A bipartisan coalition of rural representatives, however, remains dubious of that claim. Earlier this week, Representatives Rick Berg (R-North Dakota) and Collin Peterson (D-Minnesota) met with a small group of representatives to discuss their options.

At the top of their agenda was discussion of a rumored discharge petition, a parliamentary procedure that brings a bill out of committee without approval of House leadership. For weeks, Democrats and Republicans have been circulating rumors of a potential discharge petition, believing that they had enough signatures to force the farm bill to the House floor.

Despite these closed door meetings, action on the farm bill is now a moot point. On Friday, the House passed a motion to adjourn. Congress will reconvene in a lame duck session after the November elections. Representatives hope to build up enough support that they can file a discharge petition by the end of the year, guaranteeing that a new farm bill will be passed by January 2013.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer